This book is a collaborative effort that owes much to the contributions and in-
sight of many individuals along the way. They have shaped the contours of this
project by guiding and challenging our understanding of how a single export
commodity has conditioned society and power in much of the Americas. Steve
Striffler, inspired by the work of his mentor, the late Bill Roseberry, on coffee
production in Central and South America, conceived of a panel emphasizing
recent scholarship on banana production for the 1998 meetings of the Ameri-
can Anthropological Association. For that panel, we invited the participation
of an interdisciplinary group of scholars whose areas of research spanned the
banana-producing regions of the hemisphere.
From a rich assortment of papers in fields as diverse as history, geography,
sociology, and business history, as well as anthropology, there emerged the
central themes of power, resistance, and ethnicity around which this volume
is organized. To each of the authors herein, we owe a great debt of gratitude
for their participation in the conference panel from which this book developed
and for their receptiveness to our suggestions and those of the external readers
who reviewed their work. Without exception, the patience and good faith of
this volume’s authors were indispensable to ourability to transform a collection
of disparate essays into a cohesive book manuscript. So, too, were the efforts
of our editor Valerie Millholland and the staff of Duke University Press. Both
deserve our profound thanks for their enthusiastic support of this project. Not
the least of their contributions was the placement of the manuscript with two
sympathetic yet critical reviewers whose insight forced all of us to clarify our
arguments and rethink our preconceptions. We would also like to thank Sarah
Mattics of the University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies
for preparing the map of banana-producing areas of the Americas. In addition,
the editors thank their respective college deans, Donald R. Bobbitt of the Uni-
versity of Arkansas and G. David Johnson of the University of South Alabama,
for financial assistance in producing this volume.
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